Ad Age: Black Marketers in Advertising – Why Diversity Leads to Increased ROI and Authenticity

Black Americans make up 7.2% of the marketing industry workforce, which is up from 6.6% in 2021—but below the 12.1% Black representation in the U.S. population. Given that consumer marketing needs to appeal to the entire country, more Black marketers are needed.

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April 5, 2023

Studies show that more than 70% of Black consumers—greater than any segment—think that too many brands haven’t done their research when incorporating diversity (race, ethnicity and sexual identity) in their advertising.

Indeed, more than 50% of almost every major demographic group feels this way. This means billions of dollars in advertising are going to waste, in effect translating to marketers paying to be ignored—or even canceled. Hiring more marketers from diverse backgrounds, especially Black people, is a first step in rectifying this problem. Marketing teams need those who have the lived experience of being Black in America. The result would be more authentic marketing that should lead to an increase in business performance.

Marketing teams need look no further than our education system for the benefits that would emerge from hiring more Black marketers. Studies noted by both the Brookings Institution and The Washington Post show that having Black teachers improves long-term academic outcomes for Black students—and has a positive impact on non-Black students as well. Black teachers often advocate for Black students to succeed in their classes in ways that non-Black teachers do not; Black students excel when exposed to such instruction and leadership.

The same holds true for marketing: Even one Black marketing professional in the room can be an advocate for more diverse representation and inclusivity in ways that non-Black professionals cannot. This isn’t to ignore the allyship from non-Black industry professionals, but they don’t inherently know where to start.

To explore that point further, consider the disruption factor. Given their knowledge and background, Black teachers often disrupt harmful rhetoric in classrooms. They are more likely to tie social justice issues to class conversation that benefit not only Black students but the entire student population.

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